Ripley-Woodbury Marketing Communications
In 1985, AEG Corp. hired Mason & Madison, a New Haven, CT full service
marketing firm, to introduce a new, cordless, power caulking gun selling
for $159. M&M did this by implementing a public relations program aimed
at editors, writers and sellers to demonstrate the product's benefits.
The program included distribution of press kits and sample guns to editors,
trade show appearances, developing articles for vertical trade publications
and the production of a quarterly newsletter- "AEG Team America" (circulation:
2,500)- aimed primarily at distributors.
According to Business Marketing (January, '91) overall response was impressive:
more than 3,500 inquiries in the first six months from editorial coverage
and covers on several magazines including Industrial Maintenance and Plant
Operation and Engineer's Digest.
Most companies would not be surprised by AEG's story since, traditionally,
public relations has been used to gain attention for products and causes.
However, public relations also is highly effective in:
Changing public opinion
Building customer confidence and trust
Revitalizing, relaunching and repositioning mature products
Communicating new benefits of old products
Promoting new uses for old products
Building or maintaining interest in a product category
Cultivating new markets
Reaching secondary markets
Extending the reach of advertising
Reinforcing weak markets
Telling the product story in greater depth
Generating sales inquiries
Defending products at risk
Tailoring marketing programs to local audiences
Influencing opinion leaders and much more.
To do this, public relations practitioners utilize a variety of activities
designated to complement an existing advertising campaign and increase
the credibility of the message.
However, as with any campaign, public relations begins to show results
after several months of concentrated effort. The key is patience.
Tom Harris, president of Golin/Harris Communications, predicts public
relations will continue to increase in importance throughout the next
decade as media costs continue to increase and companies seek to find
an effective means of breaking through the information clutter. "Companies
that already have a fully integrated marketing program in place will be
just that much further ahead of the competition," explained Harris.
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